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Mary Harney cops out on Cervical Cancer vaccine roll out

August 5th, 2008 · 14 Comments · Equality, Irish Politics

I haven’t read such a half hearted announcement for a campaign to protect women’s health in ages, I was waiting to see if Mary Harney would bite the bullet – but it seems she put on her vest and is playing russian roulette instead.

Minister Harney Approves Introduction Of Cervical Cancer Vaccination Programme

5 August 2008

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., announced today(Tuesday 5th August, 2008) that she has asked the HSE to prepare and submit a plan for the introduction of a HPV vaccination programme for 12 year old girls to commence in September 2009.

All good so far – international best practice and all that – 73 women in Ireland die of the disease each year and 965 other women are diagnosed and treated for it.

The Minister has considered all the advice made available to her in relation to the potential public health benefits of HPV vaccination in the prevention of cervical cancer and the wider policy implications of its possible introduction into the National Immunisation Programme.

The Minister said“I accept the expert advice that the introduction of a universal, high uptake, vaccination programme for young girls, in conjunction with population based cervical screening, could significantly reduce overall cervical cancer rates. I intend to seek Government approval for the programme and for the required funding in the autumn based on the implementation of a plan that can be shown to be cost-effective, in terms of delivery costs and uptake rates.?

Ah hold on there now – we have the words ‘cost effective’ … I foresee trouble..

The Minister said : “It is clear the main priority now is to move to the introduction of the vaccination programme for 12 year old girls to commence in Sept 2009 . Having regard for the need to prioritise in relation to budget and competing demands of other service programmes (e.g. rollout and age extension of breast screening , co-lo rectal screening) it has been decided not to put in place a “catch-up “ programme for 13-15 year olds.?

And there we go – only 12 year olds are going to get it – and it won’t be back dated to more recent 12 year olds. Minister Harney has therefore opened the door to the private sector to come in and provide the vaccine at hundreds of euro a go to all those over 12 – typical Harney health politics.

The Minister has asked the HSE to begin planning for the introduction of a HPV vaccination programme for 12 year old girls to commence in September 2009, assuming an appropriate uptake rate could be achieved. The Minister notes that uptake is a vital element in the expert advice supporting the introduction of the vaccine. Consequently, she has asked the HSE to examine and ascertain the likely uptake rates , as well as the cost of purchasing the vaccine based on the best competitive arrangements available in the market and the most efficient method of delivering the vaccine.

How not to publicly back a campaign – ‘assuming an appropriate uptake rate could be achieved‘. The Minister has effectively opened the door to a public campaign against the vaccine with her words there – if ALIVE and their ilk can get enough misinformation going about the vaccine nobody will want it and therefore it won’t be cost effective and women’s lives will continue to be at risk. EPIC FAIL!

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14 Comments so far

  • Laura

    Yes in the demented, backward, incompetent little minds round at the Minister’s office it will be cheaper to treat people for full blown Cervical Cancer?!!! Or is she banking on the fact that women will either be in the private system or so long waiting on the public list that they will just die. YELLOW PACK MINISTER WITH NO SENSE OF LOOKING TO THE FUTURE OR OFFERING WOMEN A CHANCE AGAINST A NASTY DISEASE. EVER HAD CANCER MINISTER HARNEY??? NO GOOD ITS A NASTY PAINFUL ROAD AND THE LESS PEOPLE ON IT THE BETTER.

  • Sharon

    Oh bad, bad health care from government.
    This vaccine is the first certain cancer preventative treatment ever available. It’d be much better if they could campaign to ensure that all children in the appropriate age group are vaccinated.

    My daughter will be 10 next week. She’ll definitely get the jab when she’s old enough.

  • red mum

    As mum of a 16-year-old I find this deplorable, it is something that we have talked about and both agreed that she should have the vaccine. I can only imagine how someone whose daughter is 12 now feels about this, they could find themselves a couple of weeks off the age deadline. It is a ridiculous half-hearted measure and should be more opened up to more young women.

    I never realised that Alive had an opinion on it but after reading this I googled it and OMG what a bunch of fecking eejits, I should probably be more eloquent about them but eejit seems to fit it perfectly. Their reasoning being that it will encourage young women to have sex!!!!! What a idiotic argument. I shouldn’t be surprised by their ridiculous reasoning but they still manage to surprise me every now and again.

  • Bryan

    What I find most frustrating is that this will probably blow over. In a couple of days it will be a different issue. This isn’t the first ridiculous thing the health department has done and for whatever reason, people haven’t really demanded better. Not enough people anyway.

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  • Eamon

    sometimes I wish the opposition would get into power and and then you’ll really have something to blog about. How did she ‘try to hide it’??? Not telling anyone??? No. she told everyone. It’s everywhere. So how could it be hid??? Anti establishment rubbish that gets no one anywhere. Did Mary Harney BAN the vaccine??? No. people can still get it for the price of a weekend away or a smaller christmas shopping list. Did she cancel it altogether?? No. it’s delayed. Is the vaccine 100% effective??? Far from it. If fact some reports are saying it’s actually DANGEROUS. But, hey folks, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good anti-Harney rant. That’s Ray Darcys philosophy anyway. Harney TOOK ON this job when no one wanted it. It’s the world’s toughest job and the next person/party that takes it on will have it no easier and be no more effective.

  • Joe

    There seems to be some misinformation out there. The vaccine as the name implies is a vaccine for a virus STD(sexually transmitted disease) that can cause cervical cancer.
    No sexual activity=no cervical cancer.
    Amongst nuns ,it is virtually unknown.
    Cervical cancer isnt something caused by “the environment”
    The vaccine,has i believe been administered in some programs from the age of 9 onwards.In essence if you think your daughter is going to become sexually active at the age of 12 or earlier you should probably contact your local community welfare oficer as she would be at higher risk.
    If you and your daughter decide she wont become sexually active until later teens/the age of consent you could wait until then for the vaccine.
    The virus/varieties of the virus are also causative agents in anal cancer,throat cancer,prostate cancer and genital warts.
    The smear test is apparently very effective in showing a disposition to cervical cancer and 80-90% of all cervical cancer can be prevented with regular screening.
    There is no corresponding test for male predisposition to the other cancers mentioned above.
    It seems to me tho, since this is a “lifestyle choice” cancer it should be up to the individuals (married couples/partners/homosexuals/bisexuals/sexually active teenagers or even sexually active pre teens of both sexes to pay for their own vaccines or seek help to pay for the cost from the local cwo if sexually active early or at risk of it.

  • admin

    Joe your comment is a load of absolute rubbish – the vaccine prevents cervical cancer or HPV in women of all ages – but should be given before women become sexually active!! It’s not about protecting teenagers from a STD – it’s about protecting all women through all stages of their lives, not their lifestyles!

    And by the way there is a body of research that men who transmit the disease should also be vaccinated…

  • Joe

    admin quote:
    Joe your comment is a load of absolute rubbish – the vaccine prevents cervical cancer or HPV in women of all ages – but should be given before women become sexually active!! It’s not about protecting teenagers from a STD – it’s about protecting all women through all stages of their lives, not their lifestyles!

    And by the way there is a body of research that men who transmit the disease should also be vaccinated…

    1.
    Human papilloma virus of which there are around 200 types is not the same as cervical cancer.
    2.
    Some forms of HPV cause cervical cancer,nothing else is a known causative factor of cervical cancer.Once again ,no sexual activity ,no cervical cancer.
    3.
    The vaccine helps the body to kill the HPV,sexually transmitted virus (it doesnt come from toilet seats).
    4.
    The vaccine doesnt prevent cervical cancer in women of all ages,thru all stages of their lives.It protects all sexually active women.
    It prevents the onset of cervical cancer in sexually active women in most cases.Apperently its not as effective as 100% abstinence,but who would want that,the total abstinence I mean.

    I havent read the ALIVE! article referred to by Red mum in a previuos response.
    However it seems reasonable to me that if I (male) had been vaccinated against a STD that caused cancer and the opportunity for some early teen/pre teen sexual activity arose,I would be more inclined to go for it.
    It may be different for girls.

    I think men should be vaccinated against HPV as well especially since these viruses (virii?) are causative factors in other forms of cancer/genital warts etc.
    Since the vaccine is is mainly very effective against the STD of cervical cancer, I dont know how cost effective this would be.Since there are no known pre cancer tests for men for the other forms of cancer these viruses are linked to it might help them also.

  • Megan

    Starting a group on Facebook to get some momentium in demanding the screening and the vacine available to all immeditially.

    If you have facebook, please look up the group…

    Thanks

  • Gamma Goblin

    I’m with Joe on this. No vaccine for those filthy little whores! They deserve to die! Also fat people with heart disease, fucking lazy cunts, why should I pay for your eating habbit! Scrap A&E too! I didn’t ask you to drive the car, or climb the ladder, or use that chainsaw, or however else you suffered your “lifestyle choice? accident. Scrap Air and Sea rescue cos stupid cunts getting lost on the sea or mountain deserve to stay lost.

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